Atlanta’s Beltline from 10th Street south to North Avenue NE.
Patrick Di Rito
 Is art in Atlanta dead? Was it ever alive? Is art the key towards gentrification? Is gentrification even a desirable thing? What is gentrification? Who owns public space? I set out to answer none and all of these questions. With no guarantees to find answers, thus begins an experiment, an adventure, an anabasis in search of art, art communities and artists within the confines of Atlanta.
 “Museums are tombs, and it looks like everything is turning into a museum. Art settles into stupendous inertia. Silence supplies the dominant chord. Bright colors conceal the abyss that holds the museum together. Every solid is a bit of clogged air or space. Things flatten and fade. The museum spreads its surfaces everywhere, and becomes an untitled collection of generalizations that immobilize the eye.” -Robert Smithson, Some Void Thoughts on Museums. 1987.
 Emerging Properties. Property values are increasing along the peripheries of the beltline in anticipation of the projects impeding completion. First to move in: the recently homeless. They beat out the young professionals eager to gentrify the situation. They set up their putrid snares. The pools of water and sea of pilfered shopping carts were calculated to preclude excessive observation or interaction with the designated areas. The collective, as they identify themselves, are now free and unrestricted in their movements. They lie in wait.
 Biomimcry. The pile of ashes is all that remains of the last lightning storm. The bottle was selected by the doctor as an ideal candidate. The suffusion of green across its rounded dimensional surface mimicked exactly the distinct hue of green as the chlorophyll injected photosynthetic cells of the proximate region. The newly spawning flora infused with the synthetic particles of its host appears to be in a stable growth pattern. We can only wait and see.
 Insulating experience. I have no idea where I am contextually to the city of Atlanta. I realized once I set off that I would have no way of knowing when I reached North Avenue [my sense of direction being sufficiently poor to elicit two printouts of Google maps: one for the way there and one for the way back]. I was however sporadically provided a reassuring glimpse of the Bank of America buildings. Being one of the top 100 buildings in the United States, I was sufficiently confident that if all else were to fail that I could make it back to this beacon and back to campus.
 Vestiges of a past history. The railroad ties stripped from the ground, unearthed from their natural habitation lay out in a putrid heap. They have been stripped of their former glory and now lay in naked waiting for the funeral pyres. A group of bikers passes them disdainfully. There could be no symbiotic relationship with the entitled white collar young professional exploring the highly regulated confines of the beltline. Their inconvenience must be eliminated. Death to the infidel.
 High walls of green insulate you from the industrial nature of the site. Oblivious to the plight beyond we proceed in our perpetuating philistinism. It is an urban oasis. Personal contact with nature is quite unlike the highly constrained and manipulated conditions of Piedmont Park. The minimalistic human intervention provides the framework of authenticity.
 “Charlie Smith – Transformational Transportation.
Symbolizing the forward thinking progress of transportation for the city of Atlanta, the sculptures serve as markers, tunnels and checkpoints for the human entity in the new BeltLine corridor.” –Atlanta Beltline Website.
A curious surprise to say the least. I was fortunate enough to meet Charlie Smith in his studio over the summer at the Print Big exhibition. His aptly named fire sculptures provide an interesting dialectic between nature and art. The raw materiality of the corten steel allows for the entropic and aleatory moves of nature to interact harmoniously and intentionally to elicit the juxtaposition of constraint and chance. It was going so well until evereman intervened. The ever-present evereman.
 “Claudia Rebola Winegarden and Ali Mazalek – Sonoscope
An outdoor, interactive sonic play-space for a multi-generational audience. Solar-powered and equipped with motion sensors, visitors can create performances from their own movements and generated sounds all housed within multi-faceted abstract arches.” –Atlanta Beltline Website.
With eight pictures to go [in a series of miscalculations I had forgotten my third memory card and additionally forgotten to empty the remaining two cards] I stumbled upon the abandoned vestiges of a project I had seen before. The contextual shift; however, had been less than forgiving to the installation. The rampant and wild nature along the peripheries was determined to exact its revenge on the manipulations and perversions of the engineered wood. Its shield of polyurethane was insufficient to counteract the aggressive assaults by the environment. “We mortals are but shadows and dust.” –Proximo. Gladiators.
 Footscapes. The aura of the underfoot. The materiality of the perpetual ground plane. The crude path established by a linear projection of gravel was sporadically interjected with asphalt of the ever present surface parking or the art installation. It is a path for the feet. It is a path in diametric opposition to the feet. The ground is conflicted.
“This is a work of art.” –Marcel Duchamp.
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